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Full text of "A brief history of the 9th Marines"

MARINE COR 



MARINE CORPS U LIBRARY 




3000162189 



REFERENCE PAMPHLET 



A BRIEF HISTORY OF 



THE 9TH MARINES 





ORICAL BRANCH, G-3 DIVISION 
QUARTERS, U.S. MARINE CORPS 
WASHINGTON, D. C. 

REVISED I967 



A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 9TH MARINES 

By 

Truman R. Strobridge 



First Printing 1961 
Second Printing 1963 
Revised 1967 



ALFRED M. GRAY MARINE CORPS 

RESEARCH CENTER 

ATTN COLLECTION MANAGEMENT 

(C40RCL) 

2040 BROADWAY ST 
QUANTICOVA 22134-5107 



Historical Branch, G-3 Division 
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps 
Washington, D. C. 20380 
1967 




DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY 
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS 



WASHINGTON, D. C. 20380 



PREFACE 



"A Brief History of the 9th Marines" is revised at this 
time in order to provide a concise narrative of the activity 
of the regiment since its activation in 1917 to its present 
participation in Vietnam as part of the III Marine Amphibious 
Force. This history is based on the official records of the 
United States Marine Corps and appropriate secondary sources. 

It is published for the information of those interested 
in the regiment and the role it played and continues to play 
in adding to Marine Corps traditions and battle honors. 



R. L. MURRAY fl 
Major General, U. S. Mairlne Corps 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 




REVIEWED AND APPROVED: 17 May 1967 



DISTRIBUTION: 



Code DA 

Special Historical List 2. 
Special Historical List 3. 



BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 9th MARINES 
By 

Truman R. Strobridge 



World War I 

The 9th Marines had its origin in the great expansion of 
the Marine Corps during World War I. Created as one of the two 
infantry regiments of the Advanced Base Force, it was assigned 
to duty in the Carribean area as a mobile force in readiness. 
The 9th' s mission was the protection of advanced naval bases 
and the Panama Canal in the event of enemy action. (1) On 10 
November 1917, the 14 2d anniversary of the Marine Corps, the 
Commandant signed the order directing the formation of the 
regiment. (2) 

Ten days later, at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, 
the 9th Regiment was organized. (3) Its Headquarters Company 
was activated and one machine gun and eight rifle companies 
were assigned to its three battalions. Three of the units, 
the 14th (machine gun) , 36th, and 100th Companies, were trans- 
ferred to the east coast from the naval base at San Diego; the 
remaining six, the 121st through 126th Companies, were formed 
from Marines in training at Parr is Island, South Carolina. (4) 

Cuba had entered the war on the Allied side soon after 
the entry of the United States, but insurgent bands left over 
from a recent rebellion still roamed the countryside, threaten- 
ing the sugar crop vitally needed by the Allies for the war 
effort. (5) As a result, groups of Marines had been stationed 
in the sugar-growing districts to keep order. (6) The first 
mission of the newly formed 9th was to reinforce these Marines. 

Sailing aboard the USS Von Steuben on 20 December from 
Newport News, Virginia, the regiment landed on the 24th at 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (7) The new unit took the field with a 
total strength of approximately 1,000 officers and men. After 
its arrival on the island, the 9th was joined with the 7th 
Regiment, already stationed there, into the 3d Provisional 
Brigade. (8) The Marines of the 9th established their camp at 
Deer Point, Guantanamo Bay and stood by in an alert status for 
whatever action was required of them. The call never came, 
however, and for seven months the men were occupied with routine 
drill and target practice in the immediate vicinity of the 
camp. 



1 



After the situation in Cuba improved/ the 9th was with- 
drawn from the island and sent to Texas to forestall the 
possible disruption by German agents of vital shipments from 
the Mexican oil fields. (9) Embarking aboard the USS Hancock 
on 31 July 1918, the Brigade Headquarters and the 9th sailed 
from Guantanamo Bay for Galveston, Texas. Just before the 
departure, the 7th Regiment and Companies 34 and 100 of the 
9th were detached from the 3d Provisional Brigade and left 
behind for duty in Cuba. 

Upon arrival at Galveston on 6 August, the 9th disembarked 
and went into camp at Fort Crockett. The same day, the 8th 
Regiment, already stationed in Texas, was made part of the 3d 
Provisional Brigade, replacing the 7th which had remained in 
Cuba. (10) On 13 August, the strength of the 9th was increased, 
when three companies, the 154th, 155th, and 156th, were added 
to it. 

Through the remainder of World War I, the Marines were to 
remain at Fort Crockett, spending their time in training and 
guard duty. As part of the mobile force of the Advanced Base 
Force, they had to be maintained at a high state of efficiency, 
available at all times for any use the Navy might have for 
them. (11) Although the anticipated trouble in Mexico did not 
occur, the presence near the Mexican Border of the 9th and 
other American forces probably helped keep the situation 
peaceful. 

With the end of hostilities, the need for the 9th evapor- 
ated, so the regiment embarked 10 April 1919 aboard the USS 
Hancock for Philadelphia, where it arrived and unloaded 25 Apri 
The same day, it was officially disbanded. Although the 9th 
did not win combat honors during World War I, it did perform 
the exacting task of keeping itself at peak effectiveness as 
a mobile force in readiness. 

Reserve Interlude 

For a period between the World Wars, the name of the 9th 
appeared again on the muster rolls of the Marine Corps. Organ- 
ized 1 December 1925 as a Reserve Regiment, Central Reserve 
Area, the 9th' s Headquarters was at Chicago. (12) Here, also, 
were located its aviation squadron and service company. The 
1st Battalion was stationed at Chicago, with Company C at St. 
Paul", Minnesota, and Company D at Omaha, Nebraska. The 2d 
Battalion was stationed at Kansas City, Missouri, with Com- 
panies G and H at St. Louis, Missouri. The 3d Battalion was 
stationed at Cincinnati, Ohio, with Company K at Indianapolis, 
Indiana, and Companies L and M at Detroit, Michigan. 

The mission of the regiment was to train and maintain at 
a high degree of preparedness a group of "civilian" Marines 



2 



that could be quickly transformed into "regular" Marines if 
the need arose. On 1 September 1937, the name of the 9th 
disappeared again from the Marine Corps' muster rolls, when all 
of its men were transferred to the 9th Reserve District, Great 
Lakes, Illinois. 

World War II 

Enough of the great surge of Marine recruits following 
Pearl Harbor had been processed by 12 February 1942 to make 
the establishment of another regiment possible, and the 9th 
Marines was organized at Camp Elliott, San Diego, as part of 
the 2d Marine Division. (13) By this reactivation, the regiment 
acquired its present and permanent designation, the 9th Marines. 

The nucleus of the newly activated regiment, Headquarters 
and Service Company and the 3d Battalion, was formed by officers 
and men of the 2d Marines. (14) On 1 March, the 1st Battalion 
was activated, the largest percentage of its men coming from 
the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, recently returned from duty in 
Iceland. (15) Regimental Weapons Company and the 2d Battalion 
were organized on 1 April, completing the regiment and in- 
creasing its strength to 99 officers and 3,003 enlisted men. 

Immediately, a training program was inaugurated to weld 
the 9th Marines into a hard-striking, fighting team. During 
the months of May and June, amphibious training was conducted 
in the San Diego-La Jolla area. (16) A depletion of strength 
was suffered on 15 June, when the regiment was called on to 
furnish the cadre for the formation of the 22d Marines. (17) 
Again in July the unit was further reduced when it supplied 
personnel for the newly formed 23d Marines. (18) Beginning 1 
August, a gradual replacement of personnel soon brought the 9th 
back up to full strength. Two days later, it was detached from 
the 2d Marine Division and assigned to Amphibious Corps, Pacific 
Fleet. 

The first four days of September were spent marching from 
Camp Elliott up the coast to the new Marine Corps Base at Camp 
Pendleton, Oceanside. On 8 September, the 9th was transferred 
to the newly activated 3d Marine Division, an association which 
was to last until the end of the war. Again the regiment en- 
gaged in intensive combat training, including two weeks of 
amphibious exercises in the San Diego-Oceanside area. (19) 

Just a few weeks before shipping overseas, Colonel Lemuel 
C. Shepherd, Jr., Commanding Officer of the 9th and later the 
20th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1952-1955) suggested the 
design for the unique "Striking Ninth" insignia. Although not 
authorized for a shoulder patch, it was generally accepted and 
remained the regimental insignia during World War II. (20) 
"The emblem consists of a bald eagle with outstretched wings 



3 



carrying three chain links in each claw, the motto 'Striking' 
on a ribbon running through a large figure nine and another 
ribbon lettered 'Ninth Marines' below the shield. The chain 
links typify the interlocked, interdependent battalions form- 
ing the backbone of the Regiment. The eagle itself and the 
flashing lightning represent the striking power of the regi- 
ment. " (21) 

Sailing aboard the USS Mt. Vernon for New Zealand on 24 
January 1943, the 9th Marines (Reinforced) arrived in Auckland 
on 5 February and disembarked two days later. Because of the 
lack of accommodations, separate camp sites were assigned for 
each of the major regimental units; a distance of 20 miles 
separated Headquarters, which was located at the Pukekohe race 
course, from the most distant battalion. (22) Jungle warfare 
training, several 60-mile hikes, and practice in the seizure 
of a beachhead, occupied the Marines until they loaded aboard 
five transports on 29 June bound for Guadalcanal, Solomons 
Islands. (23) 

Arriving 6 July, the 9th Marines landed at Tetere Village 
and established camp about three miles from the village. In 
addition to garrison duty and a five-week period as the island 
working party, the regiment continued intensive training with 
emphasis on further jungle conditioning and patrol work to 
ready its men for the fighting to come. (24) Approximately a 
year and a half after its reactivation, the 9th Marines was 
to engage in its first battle. 

Bougainville 

Assigned to I Marine Amphibious Corps, the 9th was part 
of the force assigned to hit the beaches at Empress Augusta 
Bay, Bougainville, on 1 November 1943. En route to its desti- 
nation, the regiment spent a week at Efate in the New Hebrides, 
where it engaged in a final rehearsal, landing on a beach that 
was believed to resemble the one at Bougainville. (25) 

The largest island in the Solomons, approximately 130 
miles long by 30 miles wide, Bougainville was garrisoned by 
an estimated 35,000 Japanese soldiers. Possessing a rugged 
central mountain spine, swamps, and a thick almost impenetrable, 
jungle, the island's few existing trails offered about the only 
means of land travel. The torrential rains and the abundance 
of jungle life, especially the multitude of insects, added to 
the other difficulties of jungle travel. 

Like the earlier Guadalcanal operation, the Bougainville 
campaign was a limited-objective assault designed to capture 
and defend a strategic airfield site — a vital link in the cam- 
paign to neutralize Rabaul, the Japanese stronghold on New 
Britain that was blocking the Allied advance up the Solomon 



4 



chain. The Cape Torokina region was selected for the landing 
because it was lightly defended by the Japanese, possessed a 
suitable site for an air base, and was part of a natural de- 
fensive region approximately eight miles by six miles in 
dimension. 

At 07 30 on D-Day, the landing craft carrying the 9th 
Marines' assault waves crossed the line of departure and headed 
for the chosen beaches of Empress Augusta Bay. Landing with 
three battalions abreast on the extreme left of the division 
beachhead, the regiment encountered little enemy opposition. 
It rapidly crossed the beaches, established defensive positions, 
and sent a strong patrol to the Laruma River mouth to protect 
the division's left flank. 

The first unit to see action was the 4th Platoon of the 
Regimental Weapons Company as it supported the 3d Raider Bat- 
talion, attached to the 9th, in securing Puruata Island. Stiff 
opposition from well-concealed Japanese riflemen and machine- 
gunners was encountered, but by noon of the next day, resist- 
ance on the island had ceased. Meanwhile, a high surf and a 
steeply sloping beach were hindering the landing schedule on 
the Bougainville beaches assigned to the 9th by causing 86 
boats to either broach or dump their cargoes into the sea. 

When it did not appear that the Japanese would offer op- 
position on the left (west) flank, the 1st and 2d Battalions 
of the 9th Marines were moved on 2-3 November to the east 
sector. This consolidation of the beachhead left the 3d Bat- 
talion, 9th Marines (3/9) on the extreme left flank. Before 
3/9 could rejoin its regiment, the Japanese made their only 
attempt to reinforce their troops and the Battle of Koromokina 
Lagoon was on. 

Early on the morning of 7 November, four Japanese destroy- 
ers made a surprise counter-landing on the beaches west of the 
beachhead, unloading about 475 men rushed down from Rabaul. 
Two of the landing boats, containing about 50 men, actually 
landed only 400 yards from 3/9 1 s positions in the rear of its 
combat outpost. The Japanese tried fruitlessly to penetrate 
the Marine defenses and then retired into a swamp area nearby 
to regroup. 

The 3d Battalion immediately counterattacked and, in a 
heavy fire fight lasting about five hours, destroyed a major 
portion of the original landing force. It could make little 
headway, however, since the Japanese continued to land rein- 
forcements further down the beach and had the advantage of the 
foxholes abandoned by the Marines of the 9th when they evacuated 
these beaches. At 1315 the 3d Marines had to relieve 3/9 be- 
cause of the latter 1 s losses in attacking an emplaced enemy in 
dense jungle. (26) 



5 



Simultaneously with the countermanding on the left, the 
Japanese had also launched an attack against the right flank 
of the perimeter, defended by the 9th with the 2d Marine 
Raider Battalion attached. At the Piva Trail road block, the 
2d Raiders, with the mortars of the 9th furnishing fire support, 
forced the Japanese to break off contact. 

At 0945 on 10 November, the 9th Marines (less the 3d 
Battalion) again attacked after an air strike and mortar 
barrage on the enemy positions astride the Piva Trail. Ad- 
vancing against light resistance, the Marines moved up and 
dug in across the Numa Numa Trail. 

Continuing forward in the divisional attack towards the 
Final Beachhead Line, the 9th advanced with its patrols ready 
for instant action, for the closeness of the terrain and prox- 
imity of the enemy precluded any carelessness. By 23 November, 
it had moved up as far as the impassable swamps to its front 
would allow. (27) The same day, the 3d and 9th were ordered to 
exchange sub-sectors, thus allowing the latter to take over 
the active sector while the 3d, which had engaged in heavy 
fighting, could take over the relatively quiet sector. 

Before the exchange could be made and in order to continue 
the advance, 1/9 passed through the 3d Marines on 25 November 
and launched an attack upon a ridge, later known as "Grenade 
Hill" from the hail of grenades tossed down on the Marines by 
the Japanese. The dense jungle prohibited mortar support, and 
the necessity of close-in fighting hindered the advance until 
the enemy decided to evacuate the ridge during the night. 
After occupying "Grenade Hill, " 1/9 reorganized and continued 
the attack until the final objective, the hill mass dominating 
the East-West Trail, was taken. This action ended the Battle 
of Piva Forks. The engagement had broken the back of organized 
enemy resistance and cleared the way for a substantial expan- 
sion of the beachhead perimeter. 

The 9th Marines, after completing the exchange of sectors 
with the 3d on the night of 26-27 November, advanced on the 
more active front, reaching the new forward line on the 28th 
and sending out strong patrols. Later, advancing with other 
units of the 3d Marine Division, the regiment moved up to 
occupy the new battle lines, relieving the 1st Parachute Regi- 
ment on Hill 1000 on 10 December. 

With the establishment of the Final Beachhead Line, the 
remaining action was confined to patrol activity. The 9th 
Marines was relieved on the front lines two days after Christmas, 
after spending 57 days helping to clear the Japanese from the 
Empress Augusta Bay area. Tested in the crucible of jungle 
combat, the Marines of the 9th had not been found wanting. 



6 



GUAM 



Returning to Guadalcanal on 30 December, the regiment 
reoccupied its former camp and began arduous training for a 
proposed assault landing on Kavieng, New Ireland, another step 
in the offensive against Rabaul. (28) After months of prepara- 
tion, which included practice in street fighting, the 9th was 
just ready to embark aboard ship when the Kavieng campaign was 
cancelled. Once again the regiment began readying itself for 
an assault landing, this time on Guam. The culminating point 
of the training was a full-scale division landing exercise at 
Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal. (29) With the final rehearsal be- 
hind them, the Marines of the 9th, now combat-tested veterans, 
stood ready to lead the assault on the beaches of Guam. 

The largest and southernmost of the Marianas group, Guam 
is a peanut-shaped island of volcanic origin, approximately 30 
miles long, with a width varying from four to eight miles. A 
central lowland in the middle divides the island almost equally 
between the high plateau area to the north and the broken moun- 
tainous area to the south. The rugged terrain is blanketed by 
vegetation ranging from low, dense jungle to sword grass. Al- 
most the entire island is ringed by ragged coral reefs. A 
portion of the western shore was the most militarily valuable 
sector of the island. 

Several beaches suitable for full scale landings were 
located on the western shore, but the Japanese defenders had 
painstakingly fortified these with underwater mines and obstacles. 
Hoping to prevent prohibitive casualties, III Amphibious Corps 
in charge of the operation counted on surprising the Japanese 
by crossing wide reefs to land on beaches which were ringed by 
steep cliffs. To add to the enemy's confusion, two simultaneous 
landings were to be made on beaches five miles apart. The 3d 
Marine Division would land on the beaches between Adelup Point 
and Asan Point, while the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was 
to land at Agat to the south of Orote Peninsula. 

Assigned Blue Beach on the extreme right flank of the 3d 
Marine Division, the 9th had several missions. Its first ob- 
jective was to seize the ridges just inland from the beach and 
then, to expand the beachhead to the perimeter designated by 
III Corps. On order, the regiment was to drive west around the 
shore of Apra Harbor to link up with the 1st Brigade. (30) 

At 0740 on 21 July 1944, the amphibian tractors carrying 
the first assault waves of the 9th Marines started toward the 
shore of Guam, which had just undergone the heaviest preparatory 
bombardment yet delivered by the Navy in the Pacific. (31) After 
crossing the reefs and landing the Marines on the beach, the 
amphibian tractors hastened back to the reef 1 s edge to rendez- 
vous with landing boats bringing up following waves. 



7 



Landing on Blue Beach, the 9th Marines moved ashore in a 
column of battalion landing teams; 3d in assault, followed by 
the 2d, with the 1st in reserve. Although the right assault 
company of 3/9 bogged down until tanks could be brought up to 
supply supporting fire, the left assault company swept forward 
to seize the ridge to its front with astonishing speed, thus 
gaining its first objective and throwing the Japanese into con- 
fusion. The 1st and 2d Battalions passed through 3/9 to con- 
tinue the attack, but increased resistance from enemy-occupied 
caves stopped the advance about 400 yards short of its second 
objective and the Marines dug in for the night. 

Again the next day, the only real progress made by the 
3d Marine Division was made by the 9th as it established a 
fairly deep salient in the enemy defenses and pushed rapidly 
south along the shore to seize the Piti Navy Yard. During the 
same day, it engaged in a successful shore- to- shore assault 
against Cabras Island. For the next two days, the action of 
the 9th was confined to intensive patrolling. 

During a division attack on 25 July, the 9th' s 2d Bat- 
talion, attached to the 3d Marines, spearheaded that regiment's 
assault upon the Fonte Plateau., the site of an elaborate 
Japanese Division command post. Within an hour, 2/9 had secured 
its first objective, Mt. Tenjo Road, which gave the Marines a 
much-needed route over which to bring up tanks. 

On the night of 25-26 July, the 2d Battalion, in its 
exposed position, received the brunt of the Japanese Fonte 
Plateau counterattack. Beating off seven determined thrusts, 
the Marines held their ground, although they suffered over 50 
per cent casualties. In the morning, the bodies of 950 Jap- 
anese soldiers in front of the battalion's lines testified to 
the fury of the enemy attack. Still continuing in the advance, 
2/9 was to see much heavy fighting before it seized the Fonte 
Plateau on 29 July. 

Out of this furious battle for Fonte Plateau came the 
9th 1 s first Medal of Honor winner, Captain Louis K. Wilson, Jr. 
Although wounded three times while leading his rifle company 
in the successful seizing of its objective on 25 July, he vol- 
untarily rejoined his men that night during the fanatical 
counterattacks and led them in repulsing the enemy in a fierce 
10-hour hand-to-hand struggle. Early the next morning, he 
organized a patrol from among his battered survivors and ad- 
vanced upon a strategic slope essential to the security of his 
company's position. Defying intensive mortar, machine-gun and 
rifle fire, he drove relentlessly forward until the vital 
ground was taken. 

The 1st and 3d Battalions had also jumped off in the 
attack of 25 July. During the first day, their advance units 
made the first contact with Marines of the 1st Brigade, which 



8 



had landed on a separate beachhead to the south. On 28 July, 
they stormed and captured Mount Chachao, a well-fortified 
stronghold with a concrete emplacement on the summit. 

On 31 July, an attack was ordered to secure the northern 
portion of Guam with the 3d Marine Division and the Army's 77th 
Infantry Division moving abreast across the island. The 9th, 
on the right flank of the 3d Marine Division, had the task of 
maintaining contact with the 77th Infantry Division. On 3 
August, the last of the major Marine actions, the Battle of 
Finegayen, was fought by the regiment. 

The enemy had dug in astride the road to Finegayen village 
where an open area gave excellent fields of fire to the de- 
fenders. The Japanese surprised the Marines with heavy fire 
from these well-camouflaged positions, but Private First Class 
Francis P. Witek remained on his feet and emptied his gun at 
the Japanese killing eight of them and enabling the Marines to 
take cover. During the temporary withdrawal, he deliberately 
exposed himself to safeguard a wounded comrade. With his 
platoon still pinned down by a hostile machine gun, Witek 
boldly rushed the position, personally accounting for it and 
an additional eight Japanese before being struck down by an 
enemy rifleman. For these heroic actions, Witek earned the 
Medal of Honor. 

Advancing against. the well-organized enemy positions, the 
9th supported by two tanks managed to overrun the stronghold. 
About 500 yards farther up the road, the Marines had to clear 
another road block defended by Japanese machine guns and rifle- 
men well concealed by the heavy brush and palm groves. The 
drive north continued until the advance units of the 9th reached 
the cliffs on the north coast of Guam on the afternoon of 9 
August. 

With the end of organized enemy resistance, the regiment 
went into camp south of Ylig Bay in a coconut grove and resumed 
training after a short rest. This training was interrupted 
when a general sweep of the island was ordered to seek out and 
destroy or capture all Japanese stragglers. On 24 October, 
the 3d Marine Division moved out with its three rifle regiments 
abreast, the 9th in the center. (32) The sweep ended 30 October, 
with 617 Japanese killed and 85 prisoners, and the 9th Marines 
returned to its Ylig Bay camp. (33) 



Iwo Jima 

Life for the Marines of the 9th, like that of other 
American fighting men in the Pacific, was a constant round of 
training, combat, training, combat, and then more training for 
the next combat. For the Iwo Jima campaign, the 9th was not 



9 



scheduled to land with the assault forces as it had done at 
Bougainville and Guam; instead, V Amphibious Corps commander 
had selected it to form part of the floating reserve. (34) 
The training exercises, therefore, emphasized the various 
phases a reserve unit passed through while landing and moving 
up to the fighting. As part of the training, 1/9 staged an 
amphibious landing exercise witnessed by Admiral Chester W. 
Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, who had moved 
his headquarters from Pearl Harbor to Guam. (35) 

Embarking aboard ship 8 February 1945, the 9th Marines 
sailed from Guam to Iwo Jima on the 17th, arriving in the 
floating reserve area on D-Day, 19 February. Five days later, 
the regiment landed and moved up to the front. The situation 
ashore at this time found the Japanese controlling the rough 
high ground to the north, east, and west, looking down the 
throats of the Marines below. Before any general advance 
could be made, a breakthrough in the Japanese center was 
essential. To the 3d Marine Division was given this task of 
clearing the critical central portion of the Motoyama Plateau 
by means of a frontal assault. 

This assault threw the Marines directly into the enemy's 
strongest defenses, but the terrain precluded any other approach. 
Once control of the relatively flat tableland along the back- 
bone of the island was secured, the Marines would be able to 
utilize interior lines to strike along the ridges to the coast, 
at the same time denying the enemy the positions from which 
he could place observed fire on the beaches. However, this 
plateau could be considered flat only when compared to the 
other mountainous parts of Iwo Jima. Actually, its volcanic 
sandstone was broken everywhere by jagged outcroppings and 
tumbled crevices. Superimposed on or embedded in this forbid- 
ding terrain, the Japanese had designed the most elaborate 
system of fortifications found in the Pacific. Every eleva- 
tion assumed tactical importance and was bitterly defended. 

On the morning of 25 February, the fresh 9th Marines 
passed through the front lines on the southern edge of Motoyama 
Airfield No. 2, and attacked with two battalions in assault 
and one in reserve. For three days, the Marines fought on and 
around the airfield, while a hail of fire from rifles, machine 
guns, mortars, and artillery rained down on the slow-moving 
Marines from the heights ahead. 

During this savage fighting, another Marine of the 9th 
won the Medal of Honor. Singlehandedly rushing a pillbox which 
was holding up the advance, Private Wilson D. Watson hurled in 
a grenade and then ran around to the rear of the emplacement 
to destroy the retreating Japanese and enable his platoon to 
take its objective. Later, when the Marines were again pinned 
down, he dauntlessly scaled a jagged ridge under fierce mortar 



10 



and machine-gun fire to charge along the crest of the ridge, 
firing from the hip at the enemy. Standing erect on top of 
the ridge, Watson was able to keep up a sustained fire which 
killed 60 of the Japanese and allowed his platoon to join him. 

Enemy defenders on two key terrain features, Hills PETER 
and 199 OBOE, continually hampered the advance. Finally, by 
means of a coordinated attack between the 1st and 2d Battalions 
on 27 February, the 9th overran Hill PETER and continued down 
the reverse slope and up to the crest of 199 OBOE. The next 
morning the 21st Marines relieved the depleted regiment to push 
the attack and break the main line of resistance of the Japa- 
nese that same day. 

On 1 March, the 9th Marines again went into combat, this 
time just east of the village of Motoyama. Its 3d Battalion, 
attached to the 21st Marines, jumped off at 0800, and by late 
afternoon the 9th (less its 3d Battalion) was attacking abreast 
of the 21st Marines. The afternoon attack proved futile; 
neither regiment advanced very far. In order to avoid a time 
consuming shift of units already in the line, the 21st Marines 
attached their 3d Battalion to the 9th Marines, retaining con- 
trol of 3/9. 

The next day the 9th ran into an enemy stronghold of 
obvious strength. For the next three days, its Marines battled 
against a maze of enemy-defended caves, pillboxes, dug-in tanks, 
stone walls, and trenches that blocked their route of advance. 
On 4 March, the 9th, with its 3d Battalion returned, made re- 
peated frustrating attempts to advance, but failed to dent the 
enemy positions in its front. 

On 6 March, the regiment resumed the offensive in an all- 
out effort to breach the Japanese final defense line. Again 
no headway could be made against the well-entrenched enemy. 
Finally, in a pre-dawn attack without the usual artillery 
preparation, the Marines took the Japanese completely by sur- 
prise and surged through positions which had been holding them 
up for days. 

At times during the day, however, whole battalions were 
cut off from the rear as the Japanese came up from underground 
positions to pour devastating fire on the Marines from all 
directions. Second Lieutenant John H. Leims, commanding Com- 
pany B of the 1st Battalion, earned a Medal of Honor when he 
successfully extricated his men from their precarious positions 
and returned twice through the withering fire to rescue wounded 
Marines from the death trap. The men of 2/9 1 s Company F became 
completely isolated and had to fight for their lives all that 
day and night before their comrades could break through to re- 
lieve the battered survivors. 



11 



During the day, 3/9 had succeeded in seizing Hill 262C, 
long a stumbling block to the advance of the regiment. This 
capture allowed the 9th to flank and isolate the pocket of 
resistance that held up the advance for so many days. One of 
the most perfectly devised fortifications on the island, it 
came to be known as "Cushman's Pocket" after the commanding 
officer of 2/9. Not until 16 March was 2/9 able to wipe out 
the final remnants of the enemy bastion. With the elimination 
of "Cushman's Pocket," the 3d Marine Division commander announced 
the end of all enemy resistance in his zone of action. 

Mopping-up operations were to occupy the Marines of the 
9th until 4 April, at which time the Army's 145th Infantry 
relieved them. On the morning of the 7th, the regiment, minus 
the 3d Battalion, which was left behind for several additional 
days to assist the Army in mopping up, boarded the USS Randall 
and sailed for Guam. 

During the Iwo Jima campaign, the 9th Marines had per- 
formed valiantly in the most costly battle of the Marine Corps' 
history. As the spearhead of the 3d Marine Division, its 
Marines led the assault that captured Motoyama Airfield No. 2, 
broke the Japanese main line of resistance in the central 
Motoyama Plateau, and made the final breakthrough to Iwo's 
northeastern shore, shattering the enemy's last line of defense. 
The price had been heavy, and few of the veterans of Bougain- 
ville and Guam remained unscathed at the end. 

Worn and battered by the Iwo Jima Campaign, the regiment 
arrived at Guam on 10 April to find themselves evicted from 
their former camp on the beach and a new area in the jungle 
assigned to them. (36) The 3d Battalion, returning to Guam on 
17 April, joined in the construction of the new camp. Three 
weeks were allocated for preparing the new camp before inten- 
sive training started again in preparation for the final assault 
on the Japanese homeland. The 9th had completed its training 
and was preparing to engage in the final rehearsal, when the 
atomic bomb and the unconditional surrender of the Japanese 
made the last assault unnecessary. 

The first Marine of the regiment to hear the news on the 
radio jumped up from his bed, crashed through the tent's screen 
door, and stood, barefooted and skivvy-clad, in the middle of 
the street, to roar, "Wahooi Wahooi It's over — it's overi"(37) 
An impromptu parade took place, and precious cans of beer were 
broken out to toast the victory. 

After the initial excitement subsided, the 9th continued 
with its conditioning marches and training, for the 3d Marine 
Division was destined to sweat out its remaining time on Guam, 
a reserve force for use if the Japanese proved treacherous. 
High point men, who were selected on the basis of time overseas, 



12 



combat operations participated in / personal citations, and 
number of dependents, however, were rotated to the States. 
Later, after the passivity of the Japanese in the Central 
Pacific was assured, 3/9 was disbanded 31 October 1945. (38) 
On 1 December, the 9th embarked aboard the USS Hampton and 
sailed for San Diego, arriving and landing on the 15th. (39) 
On the 31st, the 9th Marines was officially disbanded at Camp 
Pendleton. (40) 

China Interlude 

In the autumn of 1947, the Marine Corps, faced with budg- 
etary and personnel restrictions, undertook certain reorganiza- 
tions in an attempt to retain on active status those units 
whose past combat traditions and reputation would serve to 
instill pride into the Marines serving in them. The rebirth 
of the 9th Marines at battalion strength on Guam was one result 
of this reorganization. On 1 October 1947, the 2d Battalion, 
5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, was re- 
designated the 9th Marines, Fleet Marine Force. (41) 

For over a year, the newly activated 9th was destined to 
remain on Guam, occupying its time with the usual activities 
of peacetime Marines. While the Marines trained and prepared 
themselves for any eventuality, the mainland of China was 
seething with a gigantic battle for power between the Chinese 
Communists and the Chinese Nationalists. 

By November 1948, the civil war in China began seriously 
to endanger the safety of many Americans in North China be- 
cause of the advance of the Chinese Communists and the military 
collapse of the Chinese Nationalists. (42) As a result, the 
Secretary of Navy ordered the 9th Marines, still stationed at 
Guam, to embark for China. (43) The battalion, with reinforcing 
units, loaded aboard the USS Bayfield on 22 November and sailed 
the next day for Tsingtao. Arriving on the 29th, the Marines 
were to assist in the evacuation of American nationalists and 
naval dependents from the North China area. (44) 

Most of the Marines remained aboard ship ready for combat, 
but one rifle company and some of the reinforcing units went 
ashore to serve as a reserve force there. After evacuation 
plans were coordinated with Fleet Marine Force, Western Pacific, 
the battalion, minus its reserve units, proceeded on 15 December 
to Shanghai, arriving there the next day. Again it remained 
aboard ship, ready to land only in the event that American 
lives and property were threatened. 

For the next three months, the 9th was engaged in evacu- 
ation operations in China, performing the Marines' traditional 
role of protectors of American lives, interests, and property. 
Late in December, a platoon of the 9th relieved a 3d Marines' 



13 



platoon on duty at the U. S. Embassy in Nanking. The reserve 
units of the battalion were returned to Guam on 6 January 1949. 

By mid-March, when it was evident that Tsingtao was a 
doomed city, the 3d Marines was ordered south to relieve the 
9th Marines. On 30 March, the 9th sailed from Shanghai for the 
States. Before leaving, it had transferred its Company C, 
which had elements ashore guarding American naval facilities 
and on duty at the Nanking Embassy, to the 3d Marines, which 
redesignated it Company B. 

After touching at Guam, Pearl Harbor, and the Canal Zone, 
the 9th Marines arrived 16 May at Moorehead City, North Carolina, 
and went from there to Camp Lejeune. Three days later, it be- 
came part of the 2d Provisional Marine Regiment. 

On 5 October, the 9th, by now refreshed and retrained and 
still part of the 2d Provisional Regiment, loaded on board the 
USS Fremont at Little Creek, Virginia, participating the next 
day in LEX-1, a landing exercise. Reembarking on the Fremont , 
it took part on the 8th in the rehearsal for NORAMEX, a north- 
ern amphibious exercise designed to condition the Marines in 
landing on an arctic shore and living in a tundra environment. 
Then it sailed aboard the Fremont for Cape Porcupine, Labrador, 
and NORAMEX. While en route, the 9th Marines was redesignated 
the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, as a result of a further reor- 
ganization of the Marine Corps. Thus, on 17 October 1949, the 
name of the 9th Marines again was dropped from the muster rolls 
of the Marine Corps. 



The Later Years 

During the Korean War, the 9th Marines was again reacti- 
vated at Camp Pendleton as an integral part of the 3d Marine 
Division, Fleet Marine Force, on 17 March 1952. (45) When all 
of its component units were activated, the regiment consisted 
of Headquarters and Service Company, three rifle battalions, 
Anti-Tank Company, and 4.2 Mortar Company. For the first 
several months of the unit's existence, training and drill 
kept its Marines busy. 

On 8 September, the 9th sailed from San Diego to partici- 
pate in AIRLEX-1, the first operation of its kind ever attempted 
by the Marine Corps * This unique maneuver demonstrated the use 
of the "airhead," sequel to the beachhead of World War II. In 
a massive air landing operation using several types of air- 
craft, Marines established and held an airhead at Camp Haw- 
thorne , Nevada . 

During October the 3d Marine Division, after nine days 
aboard ship off the coast of southern California, started its 



14 



amphibious landing maneuver, PHIBEX-1. This was a standard 
amphibious training exercise using landing boats; however, an 
entire battalion of the 9th was transported in a surprise 
"airhead" assault landing. In December, the regiment went to 
the other extreme in training exercises when it participated 
in FEX-1, a desert training problem near Twenty-Nine Palms, 
California, in the middle of 800 square miles of desert. In 
April 1953, a return to their more natural habitat was made, 
when the Marines participated in PHIBEX-II, another amphibious 
exercise. 

In the summer of 1953, the 3d Marine Division was ordered 
to Japan to strengthen the Far East Command by serving as a 
mobile force in readiness. The 9th Marines left the States 
in August and was established by October in Camp Gifu, Japan. 
On 14 October, the regiment departed via railway for winter 
maneuvers at Camp Fuji-McNair, Japan. A month later, it staged 
a three-day helicopter exercise. 

On 14 January 1954, the 9th embarked aboard ship at Nagoya 
and sailed for Okinawa and a landing exercise. Shortly after 
returning to Japan, it made a change in location from Camp Gifu 
to the newly-renovated Camp Shinodayama, about 10 miles south- 
west of Osaka, Japan. During March, the regiment participated 
in LEX-1 at Iwo Jima. The next month it moved to Camp Fuji- 
McNair for a 30-day training mission in the field. During 
June, the 1st Battalion participated in an 18-hour air-ground 
training maneuver, being transported from Itami to Atsugi, 
while 2/9 acted as the aggressor in an amphibious exercise on 
Okinawa. 

In July, the 9th Marines again changed its location, this 
time to Camp Sakai, Japan. A week of intensive helicopter 
training was conducted by 1/9 at the Aebano maneuver area near 
Lake Biva. The regiment participated in Operation LOTUS in 
August on Okinawa. With the coming of winter, another move 
was made on 27 October to Camp Fuji-McNair and training maneu- 
vers. On 5 December, the regiment returned to Camp Sakai. 
During these rigorous training manuevers, the Marines of the 
9th still found time to perform an act of kindness by turning 
into lumberjacks and cutting up a winter's supply of 600 trees 
for the Fuji Leper Colony. 

During the remainder of its stay in Japan, the 9th with 
other elements of the 3d Marine Division was constantly under- 
going intensive training in amphibious and land warfare in ful- 
fillment of its role as a ready force for the Far East Command. 
In addition, the Marines created a feeling of goodwill among 
the Japanese for the United States by their generous donations 
to charities and the giving of Christmas parties for orphans. 
Time was also found for sports, and the regiment won honors in 
boxing, football, baseball, swimming, and other athletic 



15 



activities . 

After participating in the NAVMARLEX maneuvers at Okinawa 
in June, the 9th Marines relocated its base to Camp Napunja, 
Okinawa, on 5 July 1955. During the same month, the 3d Marine 
Division's headquarters was moved to Okinawa. This move was a 
result of a recent agreement with Japan which called for the 
removal of American ground forces. 

A brief return to Japan was made in September, for TRAEX-8 
manuevers at Camp Fuji-McNair. In December, the 9th Marines 
played the role of aggressor as the 3d Marines stormed ashore 
on the beaches of Okinawa in a mock attack. Another change of 
location came in January 1956, when the regiment moved to Camp 
Sukiran, Okinawa. During February, 1/9 participated in SEATO's 
Operation FIRM LINK, gigantic maneuvers staged in Thailand. 
During these maneuvers, the helicopter demonstration of the 
Marines especially intrigued the allied observers. Afterwards, 
the Marines paraded through the streets of Bangkok, the capital 
of Thailand. 

On 15 April a firing squad from the 9th took part in a 
ceremony commemorating Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II war 
correspondent, beside his grave on Ie Shima. In May, the 
regiment stormed ashore at Kin beach in a full-scale amphibious 
exercise. During August, 1/9 staged a mock atomic attack at 
Hansen Range, vividly displaying the mobility and effective- 
ness of modern vertical envelopment by means of the helicopter. 
In October, Marines of the 9th participated in Operation TEAM- 
WORK in Thailand, demonstrating an amphibious assault on the 
beach at Had Chao Samran. Over 25,000 spectators looked on as 
the U. S. Marines cooperated with the Royal Thai Marines. 

During 1957, the regiment changed its location several 
times. On 5 April, it moved from Okinawa to Middle Camp, Fuji, 
Japan. Returning to Okinawa, the 9th established itself at 
Camp Hauge in October. Also during the year, the Marines par- 
ticipated in two large-scale training exercises, NAVMARLEX-1 
and RLTLEX 58 DELTA. 

On 1 February 1958, the regiment moved to Camp Elbert L. 
Kinser, Okinawa. Later in the month, it sailed for the Philip- 
pine Islands and Operation STRONGBACK, the largest maneuver 
staged in the Pacific by U. S. Armed Forces since World War II. 
Returning to Okinawa in early March, the 9th made camp again 
at Camp Sukiran. 

During April, 1/9 took a 91.3 mile training hike around 
Okinawa as part of its fitness program. Sailing from the 
i sland in September, the Marines of the 9th participated in 
Exercise LAND HO in the Taiwan Area. During December, 2/9 
finished successfully a 19-day survival and guerrilla training 
exercise some 26 miles north of Nago. 



16 



The first month of 1959 found the regiment experimenting 
during field exercises with new training methods, such as the 
use of realistic plastic reproductions of wounds to help train 
Marines in the treatment of battle injuries. The next month, 
Marines of 3/9 engaged in a tactical air-lift from Camp Sukiran 
to Camp Bishigawa, where they destroyed a simulated enemy 
objective before being heli-lifted again back to their camp. 

In June the entire regiment sailed for North Borneo and 
Operation SADDLE UP, the first amphibious operation involving 
SEATO forces. Using helicopters, amphibian tractors and land- 
ing craft to get ashore, the Marines conducted the training 
exercise in some of the worst terrain and living conditions 
that any Marine had faced since hitting the beaches at Guadal- 
canal . 

Besides constantly training ana experimenting with new 
weapons and techniques of warfare in order to remain combat 
ready, the Marines, as they had done in Japan, made friends 
with the people of Okinawa through acts of kindness and con- 
sideration. Nor did they neglect the field of sports, for 
their athletic honors continued to multiply. 

The next large-scale training exercise took place in May 
1960. Designed to improve amphibious planning and promote a 
closer working relationship between the forces of the United 
States and those of the government of the Republic of China, 
Operation BLUE STAR was a five-day amphibious exercise on the 
southern part of Formosa. Under the protective cover of Marine 
and Chinese aircraft, joint forces of combat-ready U. S. and 
Chinese Nationalist Marines assaulted the beaches of Formosa 
in one of the largest ship-to-shore war games in the Western 
Pacific area since World War II. 

During June, the Marines of the 9th participated in the 
joint U. S. - Republic of Korea amphibious training exercise, 
Operation SEA HAWK, held near Pohang, Korea. Marines of both 
nations worked closely together, making good use of vertical 
envelopment, and helped to increase the proficiency of opera- 
tions between the U. S. and the Republic of Korea forces. 

Towards the end of the year, 1/9 participated in Operation 
PACKBOARD, a training maneuver emphasizing jungle warfare and 
anti-guerrilla operations. This exercise in northern Okinawa 
by elements of the 7th Fleet and the 3d Marine Division re- 
vealed the helicopter to be a successful weapon against 
guerrilla forces and a useful means of supplying troops in 
jungle terrain. 

On 1 January 1961, the infantry transplacement battalions 
of the 1st and 3d Marine Divisions were redesignated to conform 
with their present regiment. This change was made as a means 



17 



of eliminating the administrative difficulty which had resulted 
from the units being allowed to maintain their original identi- 
ties. Transplacement battalions had come into being a few 
years back when the Marine Corps decided to relieve its Marines 
stationed on Okinawa by relieving units rather than individual 
Marines, thus retaining the unity and efficiency of the bat- 
talion by keeping its men serving together. Under the old 
transplacement plan, a battalion transplacing between the 1st 
Marine Division in the States and the 3d Marine Division in 
Okinawa would retain its original regiment's identity. From 
now on, a transplacement battalion would exchange names with the 
unit it relieved. As a result of this new transplacement plan, 
the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines, were redesignated 
the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 9th Marines. This action 
changed only the correct administrative title of the battalions 
and did not involve the physical movement of Marines, although 
some of the battalions were in the process of transplacement 
at the time. 

In May 1961, the 9th Marines participated in Operation 
PONY EXPRESS, a combined SEATO amphibious exercise on the 
northern shore of Borneo. When a Communist buildup in South- 
east Asia threatened Thailand in the summer of 1962, the 9th 
had a chance to prove its value as a force in readiness. The 
3d Battalion landed at Bangkok and proceeded to the Udorn area, 
some 40 miles from the Mekong River, where it remained as a 
deterrent to any aggression until the danger had passed. In 
addition, each battalion of the 9th took its turn as the 
"floating battalion, " a Battalion Landing Team continuously 
afloat in ships of the Seventh Fleet and serving as its mobile 
striking arm. The regiment remained permanently stationed on 
Okinawa until it was committed to Vietnam in 1965. 

The Ninth Marines in Vietnam (46) 

A battalion of the 9th Marines was one of the first units 
to land in Vietnam following the decision to commit Marine 
forces against the Viet Cong. On 8 March 1965, BLT (Battalion 
Landing Team) 3/9, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. 
McPartlin, Jr., landed in Da Nang in central Vietnam as part of 
the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The brigade's mission 
was to defend the Da Nang Air Base, which at that time was 
under constant threat of attack by the Viet Cong. Marines of 
3/9 quickly and effectively secured the airbase and its immedi- 
ate vicinity and remained at that location until they were 
relieved by BLT 1/9 under Lieutenant Colonel Verle E. Ludwig 
on 16 June 1965. BLT 3/9 returned to Okinawa, where on 18 
July another battalion, fresh from the United States, was 
designated 3d Battalion, 9th Marines. 

On 4 July 1965, the regimental commander, Colonel Frank E. 
Garret son, brought his headquarters to Da Nang from Okinawa 



18 



and the regiment became part of the III Marine Amphibious 
Force in South Vietnam. On the same date, the 2d Battalion, 
under Lieutenant Colonel George R. Scharnberg, also arrived. 
On 15 August, when the 3d Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel 
Robert J. Tunnell, Jr., reached Da Nang the regiment had all 
three of its organic battalions committed against the Viet Cong. 

In its first year in Vietnam, the 9th Marines, located 
on the east coast of South Vietnam in the Da Nang tactical 
area of responsibility, occupied an area of approximately one 
hundred and fifty square miles. Bounded by three major rivers, 
the Song Cau Do to the north, Song Yen-Song Vu Gia to the west, 
and the Song Thu Bon- Song Ky Lam to the south, the zone of 
action contained numerous small riverways, heavy vegetation, 
and a relatively high population density. On 15 June 1966, the 
responsibility for the eastern sector, a sandy, lightly popu- 
lated area, and the area south of Song Cau Do, running parallel 
to the river, was assigned to another regiment of the III MAF. 

Contiguous to the zone of action of the 9th Marines was 
the An Hoa light industrial complex, an area of considerable 
economic potential to the people of Da Nang and surrounding 
Quang Nam Province. During late April and early May 1966, the 
3d Battalion conducted an extensive search and destroy opera- 
tion in the vicinity of the industrial complex and paved the 
way for the reestablishment of Government of Vietnam influence 
in the area. 

During 1965 and 1966, the regiment developed several 
tactics and techniques particularly suited for its zone of actic 
Beginning in September 1965, at the height of the rice harvest 
season, the 9th Marines inaugurated Operation GOLDEN FLEECE, 
so named because of the nature of the mission. Working in con- 
junction with local Vietnamese units and district officials, 
9th Marines units conducted search and destroy operations in 
the vicinity of areas where rice was to be harvested and also 
provided security for the villagers. This type of operation 
was successful both militarily and politically and was in- 
strumental in establishing Marine-Vietnamese rapport throughout 
the regimental zone of action. 

As the regiment advanced south of the Song Cau Do, contacts 
with the Viet Cong rose sharply. The zone of action was in- 
creasingly characterized by intense short-lived encounters on 
the small unit level. This indicated the need for a quick 
response by a highly maneuverable small force with adequate fire 
power, which the 9th Marines met with the development of the 
SPARROW HAWK concept in January 1966. Each forward battalion 
maintained a reinforced rifle squad on daylight alert for immedi- 
ate deployment by helicopter to any destination in its zone of 
action to exploit contact with hostile forces. Transport and 
armed helicopters were on strip alert at the Marble Mountain 
Air Facility at Da Nang and upon request from the battalion, 



19 



were immediately deployed to a designated landing zone to pick 
up the "SPARROW HAWK" squad. These Marines were then landed 
in the enemy's rear or flank. This Marine tactical unit was 
utilized as a separate maneuver element on the ground either 
in a mobile role or as a separate blocking force, but not as 
a reinforcing element. By 30 June 1966, the 9th Marines had 
successfully employed SPARROW HAWK 45 times and had achieved 
significant results. 

In October 1965, the area to the rear of the 2d Battalion 1 
zone of action was chosen by the Government of Vietnam as the 
location for a priority pacification program known as the Five 
Mountains Pacification Campaign. Civic action as a "new 
weapons system" gained increasing importance as the program, 
supported by the 9th Marines, picked up momentum. In an effort 
to provide maximum assistance to the pacification program and, 
at the same time, to accomplish one of its priority missions, 
the destruction of the Viet Cong — the 9th Marines developed 
Operation COUNTY FAIR in February 1966. 

COUNTY FAIR was a combination of military, civic, and 
physchological-warf are actions to reestablish Vietnamese con- 
trol over the populace of a given area. It was designed to 
flush the Viet Cong from the community in which they were a 
parasite, while at the same time insuring that the populace 
was not alienated towards the government. Military actions 
were accompanied by a vigorous civic action program which 
attempted to convince the population that the Government of 
Vietnam was interested in the welfare of the people and that a 
government victory against the Viet Cong was inevitable. 

The 9th Marines 1 participation in COUNTY FAIR operations 
consisted of cordoning a target area (village or hamlet) in 
order to isolate it for the duration of the operation (normally 
two days) and providing limited medical and logistical assist- 
ance. To the largest extent possible, Vietnamese military, 
police, and civil authorities performed the task of searching 
the target areas and handling the populace. This was con- 
sidered an essential element of COUNTY FAIR operations, since 
one of its primary purposes was to restore the populace 1 s con- 
fidence in the Vietnamese governmental structure and to instill 
a sense of trust and loyalty towards duly appointed officials. 

During its first year of deployment in Vietnam, the 9th 
Marines took part in approximately 45 battalion and several 
hundred company-size operations within the Da Nang tactical 
area of responsbility as well as in several III Marine Amphibiou 
Force operations outside the Da Nang area. 



20 



In Retrospect 



After almost a half-century of existence, the 9th Marines 
can look back upon its past history with pride. The regiment 
performed valiantly on the beaches and in the jungles of 
Bougainville and Guam, as well as on the volcanic ash of Iwo 
Jima in the most costly battle of the Corps' history, and now 
has fought with distinction in Vietnam. First created in time 
of war, each new national crisis has brought it back into being, 
and each time it has carried out its mission successfully. 
Present-day Marines serving under the battle streamers of the 
9th 's regimental standard can share equally in the pride of 
combat-earned honors and the confident belief that the "Striking 
Ninth" will continue to perform courageously in any future 
crisis. 



21 



NOTES 



(1) Clyde H. Metcalf , A History of the United States Marine 
Corps . (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939). p. 456, 
hereafter Metcalf, USMC History . 

(2) CMC ltr to CO, MB, Quantico, Va., dtd 10Novl7 (HistBr 
Archives, G-3 Division, HQMC) . 

(3) Ibid . ; Muster Rolls, 9th Regiment, Novl7 (Unit Diary- 
Section, Personnel Department, HQMC) , hereafter Muster 
Rolls with unit, month, and year. 

(4) Ibid.; CMC ltr to CO, MB, Quantico, Va., dtd 10Novl7 
(HistBr Archives, G-3 Division, HQMC) . 

(5) Metcalf, USMC History , p. 336. 

(6) Ibid . , p. 337. 

(7) Muster Rolls , 9th Regiment, Decl7, and, unless otherwise 
cited, the Muster Rolls are the source of the following 
account of the 9th Regiment during World War I. 

(8) Metcalf, USMC History , p. 337; Muster Rolls , 3d Provisional 
Marine Brigade, Decl7; Muster Rolls , 7th Regiment, Decl7. 

(9) IstLt L. D. Burrus, USMCR, (ed.), The Ninth Marines ; A 
Brief History of the Ninth Marine Regiment with Lists of 
the Officers and Men Who Served From Organization to Dis - 
bandment 1942 - 45 (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 
1946) , p. 30, hereafter Burrus, Ninth ; Metcalf, USMC 
History , p. 460. 

(10) Burrus, Ninth , p. 30. 

(11) "Report of the Commandant of the Marine Corps" in Report 
of the Secretary of the Navy 1918 , p. 1608. 

(12) Muster Rolls , 9th Regiment, Dec25-Sep37; Burrus, Ninth , 
p. 31. 

(13) Richard W. Johnston, Follow Me l The Story of the Second 
Marine Division in World War II (New York: Random House, 
1948), p. 16; Muster Rolls , 9th Marines, Feb42. Unless 
otherwise cited, the Muster Rolls are the source of the 
9th Marines' history until the Bougainville campaign. 

(14) IstLt Robert A. Aurthur, USMCR, and IstLt Kenneth Cohlmia, 
USMCR, The Third Marine Division (Washington: Infantry 
Journal Press, 1948) , p. 11, hereafter Aurthur and Cohlmia, 
Third Marine Division. 



22 



Ibid 



Ibid., p. 12 
Burrus , Ninth, p. 33 
Ibid. 

Ibid . , pp. 34-35. 

Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 14. 
Burrus, Ninth , p. 36. 

Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 14. 
Burrus, Ninth , pp. 37-38 
Ibid . , pp. 38-39. 

Maj John N. Rentz, USMCR, Bougainville and the Northern 
Solomons (Washington: Historical Section, Division of 
Public Information, HQMC, 1948) , p. 24, and, unless 
otherwise cited, the source of the following account of 
the 9th Marines on Bougainville. 

Maj Frank 0. Hough, USMCR, The Island War (Philadelphia: 
J. B. Lippincott, 1947) , p. 113, hereafter Hough, Island 
War. 



Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 73. 
Burrus, Ninth , p. 52. 

Maj 0. R. Lodge, The Recapture of Guam (Washington: 
Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1954) pp. 27-28, 
and, unless otherwise cited, the source of the following 
account of the 9th Marines on Guam. 

Hough, Island War , p. 269. 

Jeter A. Islely and Philip A. Crowl, The U. S. Marines 
and Amphibious War : Its Theory , and Its Practice in the 
Pacific (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951) 
p. 373. 

Burrus, Ninth , p. 72. 

Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division, p. 167. 

LtCol Whitman S. Bartley, USMC, Iwo Jima: Amphibious 
Epic (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 
1954) , p. 26, and, unless otherwise cited, the source of 



23 



the following account of the 9th Marines during the Iwo 
J ima c ampa ig n . 

(35) Burrus, Ninth , p. 76. 

(36) Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 323. 

(37) Ibid . , p. 330. 

(38) Muster Rolls , 9th Marines, Oct45. 

(39) Ibid ., Dec45. 

(40) Ibid . 

(41) Unless otherwise cited, the source of the following 
account of the 9th Marines in China has been obtained 
from the Muster Rolls of the 9th Marines for this period 
and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., "North China Marines" (MS, HistBr, 
G-3, HQMC) . 

(42) Henry I. Shaw, Jr., The United States Marines in North 
China , 1945 - 1949 (Marine Corps Historical Reference 
Series No. 23, HistBr, G-3, HQMC, 1960), p. 22. 

(43) Ibid . , pp. 22-23. 

(44) North China Marine . (Tsingtao, China), 4Dec48, p. 1. 

(45) 9th Marines Unit Diary, Mar52 (Unit Diary Section, 
Personnel Department, HQMC) . The Unit Diaries of the 
9th Marines from March 1952 to January 1963 provided 
the source for the remainder of this section. Certain 
information, not obtainable from the unit diaries has 
been taken from the following newspapers of the period: 
The Pendleton Scout (Camp Pendleton, California) and The 
Triad (3d Marine Division) . 

(46) CO, 9th Marines Itr to CMC, dtd 4Jul66 (HistBr, G-3 
Division, HQMC) provided the basis for the narrative 
concerning the 9th Marines in Vietnam. 



24 



APPENDIX A 



COMMANDING OFFICERS, 9TH MARINES, 1917-1961 



Introduction 

Since the beginning of the Marine Corps, there has only been 
one regimental organization bearing the designation "Ninth" at 
any given time. The following list enumerates the Commanding 
Officers of this regiment. A series of asterisks have been 
used at the end of particular rosters to indicate total dis- 
bandment of a regiment. Absence of asterisks between regi- 
mental headings indicates a redesignation. A single asterisk 
indicates that the Commanding Officer later became a Commandant 
of the Marine Corps. 

9th Regiment , Advanced Base Force 



Note: Organized at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, on 
20 November 1917 as one of the two infantry regiments 
of the Advanced Base Force during World War I. 



IstLt 


Robert W. Williams 


20 Nov 


1917 - 


22 


Nov 


1917 


Maj 


Rush R. Wallace 


23 Nov 


1917 - 


25 


Nov 


1917 


LtCol 


Frederic L. Bradman 


26 Nov 


1917 - 


25 


Dec 


1917 




9th Reqiment, 3d 


Provisional Brigade 








LtCol 


Frederic L. Bradman 


26 Dec 


1917 - 


23 


Jan 


1918 


Col 


Thomas C. Treadwell 


24 Jan 


1918 - 


30 


Apr 


1918 




None Designated 


1 May 


1918 - 


30 


Jun 


1918 


Col 


Thomas C. Treadwell 


1 Jul 


1918 - 


17 


Aug 


1918 


Col 


George C. Reid 


18 Aug 


1918 - 


31 


Oct 


1918 




None Designated 


1 Nov 


1918 - 


31 


Dec 


1918 


Col 


George C. Reid 


1 Jan 


1919 - 


31 


Jan 


1919 




None Designated 


1 Feb 


1919 - 


31 


Mar 


1919 


Col 


George C. Reid 


1 Apr 


1919 - 


25 


Apr 


1919 


Note: 


On 25 April 1919, the 


9th Regiment 


disbanded 


upon de- 




barking at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia. 









****** 



9th Marines , 2d Marine Division 

Note: Reactivated at Camp Elliott, San Diego, as an integral 
part of the 2d Marine Division. 

LtCol William B. Onley 12 Feb 1942 - 15 Mar 1942 

*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 16 Mar 1942 - 31 Jul 1942 



25 



9th Marines , Reinforced , 2d Marine Division 
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 1 Aug 1942 - 2 Aug 1942 

9th Marines , Reinforced , Amphibious Corps , Pacific Fleet 
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 3 Aug 1942 - 7 Sep 1942 

9th Marines , Reinforced , 3d Marine Division 
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 8 Sep 1942 - 21 Nov 1942 

9th Marines , 3d Marine Division 
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 22 Nov 1942 - 31 Dec 1942 

9th Marines , Reinforced , 3d Marine Division 
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 1 Jan 1943 - 19 Jun 1943 

9th Marines , 3d Marine Division 



*Col 


Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 


20 


Jun 


1943 - 


19 


Jul 


1943 


Col 


Edward A. Craig 


20 


Jul 


1943 - 


17 


Aug 


1943 


LtCol 


James A. Stuart (Acting) 


18 


Aug 


1943 - 


22 


Aug 


1943 


Col 


Edward A. Craig 


23 


Aug 


1943 - 


21 


Sep 


1944 


Col 


Howard N. Kenyon 


22 


Sep 


1944 - 


1 


Oct 


1945 


LtCol 


William R. Williams (Act 


ing) 2 


Oct 


1945 - 


9 


Oct 


1945 


Col 


Howard N. Kenyon 


10 


Oct 


1945 - 


13 


Oct 


1945 


LtCol 


William R. Williams 


14 


Oct 


1945 - 


26 


Nov 


1945 


LtCol 


James H. Tinsley 


27 


Nov 


1945 - 


29 


Nov 


1945 




9th Marines, 


Reinforced 










LtCol 


James H. Tinsley 


30 


Nov 


1945 - 


31 


Dec 


1945 



Note: 



Note: 



LtCol 
Maj 

LtCol 

Col 

LtCol 



On 31 December 1945, the 9th Marines were disbanded at 
Camp Pendleton, California. 

9th Marines 

The 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet 
Marine Force (FMF) , was redesignated 9th Marines, FMF, 
on 1 October 1947. 



Ralph A. Collins, Jr. 
Charles J. Bailey, Jr. 
(Acting) 

Ralph A. Collins, Jr. 
Thomas B. Hughes 
Ralph A. Collins, Jr. 
(Acting) 



1 Oct 1947 - 23 Nov 1947 

24 Nov 1947 - 28 Nov 1947 

29 Nov 1947 - 29 Feb 1948 

1 Mar 1948 - 9 May 1948 

10 May 1948 - 19 May 1948 



26 



Col 


Thomas B. Hughes 


20 May 


1948 


— 


31 


May 


1948 


LtCol 


Ralph A. Collins, Jr. 


1 Jun 


1948 


- 


9 


Jun 


1948 




(Acting) 














Col 


Thomas B. Hughes 


10 Jun 


1948 


— 


20 


Jun 


1948 


LtCol 


Ralph A. Collins, Jr. 


21 Jun 


1948 


— 


26 


Jun 


1948 




(Acting) 














V--UX 


j-iiciucio d « nu.y i it; o 


97 .Tnn 


1 QAR 








1 QAft 






, Reinforced 










Col 


Thomas B. Hughes 


1 Nov 


1948 


- 


30 


Nov 


1948 


Maj 


Walter W. Stegemerten 


1 Dec 


1948 


- 


3 


Dec 


1948 




(Acting) 














Col 


Thomas B. Hughes 


4 Dec 


1948 


— 


5 


Dec 


1948 


Maj 


Walter W. Stegemerten 


6 Dec 


1948 


— 


10 


Dec 


1948 


(Acting) 














Pol 
V— (J J. 


J- iicjitido jd • nuij iicd 


11 Dec 


1948 




l ft 
xo 




1 QAQ 




9th Marines, 2d Provisional Marine 


Regime nt 






LtCol 


William J. Piper, Jr. 


19 May 


1949 




4 


Jul 


1949 


Maj 


Lucien W. Carmichael 


5 Jul 


1949 




28 


Jul 


1949 


T,fP n l 
i_lL.V-.CJ J. 


Frederick R. Dowsett 


29 Jul 


1949 




11 




1 QAQ 


9th Marines, Reinforced, 2d 


Provisional Marine Regiment 


LtCol 


Frederick R. Dowsett 


12 Sep 


1949 




17 


Oct 


1949 



Note: On 17 October 1949, en route aboard ship to Cape 

Porcupine, Labrador, the designation of the regiment 
was changed to 3d Battalion (Reinforced) , 6th Marines, 
2d Marine Division, FMF. 

******* 



9th Marines 



Note: 



Col 

Col 

Col 

LtCol 

Col 

LtCol 

Col 



Col 



Reactivated at Camp Pendleton, California, as an 
integral part of the 3d Marine Division, FMF, on 
17 March 1952. 



John J. Gormley 
William W. Buchanan 
George A. Roll 
John A. Copeland 
Cliff Atkinson, Jr. 
Henry J. Revane 
Howard B. Benge 



18 Mar 1952 

16 Nov 1952 
3 Apr 1954 
8 Sep 1954 

25 Oct 1954 
12 Jul 1955 

17 Aug 1955 



15 Nov 1952 
2 Apr 1954 
7 Sep 1954 

24 Oct 1954 
11 Jul 1955 

16 Aug 1955 
30 Sep 1955 



9th Marines , Reinforced 
Howard B. Benge 1 Oct 1955 - 1 Mar 1956 



27 



Col 


Peter J. Speckman 


2 


Mar 


1956 


- 


30 


Jun 


1956 


Col 


Carl A. Laster 


1 


Jul 


1956 


- 


28 


Dec 


1956 


LtCol 


James A. Donovan, Jr. 


29 


Dec 


1956 


- 


5 


Jan 


1957 




(Acting) 
















Col 


James C. Murray, Jr. 


6 


Jan 


1957 


— 


14 


Jul 


1957 


Col 


Clvrlp R NpI «?nn 


1 5 


Jul 

w U.JL 


1 957 

JL J7 / 




1 4 

JL *X 




JL ^ *J \D 




















Col 


Clyde R. Nelson 


15 


Apr 


1958 


- 


1 


May 


1958 


Col 


Francis W. Benson 


2 


May 


1958 


- 


16 


Sep 


1958 


Col 


Leonard M. Mason 


17 


Sep 


1958 


- 


1 


Apr 


1959 


Col 


Roy J. Batterton, Jr. 


2 


Apr 


1959 


- 


16 


Oct 


1959 


Col 


Randall L. Stallings 


17 


Oct 


1959 


- 


7 


May 


1960 


Col 


Wilbur R. Holmer 


8 


May 


1960 


- 


8 


Nov 


1960 


Col 


William A. Stiles 


9 


Nov 


1960 


- 


28 


Jun 


1961 


Col 


Samuel D. Mandeville, 


Jr. 29 


Jun 


1961 


- 


8 


May 


1962 


Col 


John H. McMillan 


9 


May 


1962 


- 


4 


Sep 


1962 


Col 


Gordon D. Gayle 


5 


Sep 


1962 


- 


16 


Feb 


1963 


Col 


George R. Stallings 


17 


Feb 


1963 


- 


10 


Dec 


1963 


Col 


Cleland E. Early 


11 


Dec 


1963 


- 


31 


Jul 


1964 


Col 


Frank E. Garretson 


1 


Aug 


1964 


- 


13 


Aug 


1965 


Col 


John E. Gormon 


14 


Aug 


1965 


- 


15 


Feb 


1966 


Col 


Edwin H. Simmons 


16 


Feb 


1966 


- 


4 


Jul 


1966 


Col 


Drew J. Barrett 


5 


Jul 


1966 


- 


6 


Oct 


1966 


Col 


Robert M. Richards 


7 


Oct 


1966 


— 


4 


Apr 


1967 


Col 


Robert M. Jenkins 


5 


Apr 


1967 











28 



APPENDIX B 



9TH MARINES MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS 

Capt Louis H. Wilson, Jr. - 25-26 Jul 1944 - Fonte Hill, 

Guam 

Pfc Frank P. Witek - 3 Aug 1944 - Battle of 

Finegayen, Guam 

Pvt Wilson D. Watson - 26-27 Feb 1945 - Iwo Jima, Volcano 

Islands 

2dLt John H. Leims - 7 Mar 1945 - Iwo Jima, Volcano 

Islands 



29 



APPENDIX C 
CAMPAIGN STREAMERS OF 9TH MARINES 
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION WITH ONE BRONZE STAR 

Guam Campaign (earned by 2/9) 24 Jul 1944 - 1 Aug 1944 

Iwo Jima Campaign 19 Feb 1945 - 28 Feb 1945 

WORLD WAR I VICTORY STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR 

Cuba Nov 1917 - 11 Nov 1918 

ASIATIC-PACIFIC STREAMER WITH THREE BRONZE STARS 

Treasury-Bougainville Campaign 1 Nov 1943 - 15 Dec 1943 

Northern Solomons Campaign 15 Dec 1943 - 28 Dec 1943 

Guam Campaign 21 Jul 1944 - 15 Aug 1944 

Iwo Jima Campaign 19 Feb 1945 - 16 Mar 1945 

WORLD WAR II VICTORY STREAMER 

12 Feb 1942 - 28 Dec 1945 

CHINA SERVICE STREAMER 

29 Nov 1948 - 29 Mar 1949 

NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR 

17 Mar 1952 - 27 Jul 1954 
1 Jan 1961 - 

MARINE CORPS EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER 

Thailand (earned by 3/9) 17 May 1962 - 29 Jul 1962 

ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER 

Vietnam 9 Mar 1965 - 3 Jul 1965 

VIETNAM SERVICE STREAMER 

4 Jul 1965 - 



30 



rt f the Marine Corps 
Library of the w» 

2040 Broadway Street 

v\ 22134-5107 
Quantico, VA ^